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  • Lisa Coxon of Toronto Life shares eleven photos tracking Toronto's queer history back more than a century.

  • Michelle McQuigge reports for the Toronto Star that the Luminous Veil does save lives. I would add that it is also beautiful.

  • In The Globe and Mail, Marcus Gee thinks it makes perfect sense for there to be a dedicated streetcar corridor on King Street.

  • Ben Spurr describes a new plan for a new GO Transit bus station across from Union Station.

  • Emily Mathieu reported in the Toronto Star on how some Kensington Market tenants seem to have been pushed out for an Airbnb hostel.

  • In The Globe and Mail, Irish-born John Doyle explores the new Robert Grassett Park, built in honour of the doctor who died trying to save Irish refugees in 1847.

  • Justin Ling in VICE tells the story of three gay men who went missing without a trace in Toronto just a few years ago. What happened?
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  • The Independent suggests that potentially flammable cladding was mounted on London's Grenfell Tower so as to make it look nicer for richer neighbours. If the lives of the poor were put at risk of burning to make richer neighbours happy ... Wow.

  • Adam Rogers at Wired describes the many complexities regarding fighting high-rise fires and evacuating their inhabitants.

  • CBC suggests that local building codes in Canada are sufficiently stringent to prevent a repetition of the Grenfell Tower tragedy here. One hopes.

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  • Centauri Dreams looks at two brown dwarf pairs, nearby Luhman 16 and eclipsing binary WD1202-024.

  • D-Brief notes a study suggesting panspermia would be easy in the compact TRAPPIST-1 system.

  • Far Outliers notes the shouted and remarkably long-range vocal telegraph of early 20th century Albania.

  • Language Hat links to a fascinating blog post noting the survival of African Latin in late medieval Tunisia.

  • The LRB Blog notes the observations of an Englishman in Northern Ireland that, after the DUP's rise, locals are glad other Britons are paying attention.

  • Marginal Revolution notes a study suggesting that refugees in the US end up paying more in taxes than they receive in benefits.

  • Spacing reviews a fascinating-sounding new book on the politics and architecture of new libraries.

  • Understanding Society examines the mechanisms through which organizations can learn.

  • Window on Eurasia talks about the progressive detachment of the east of the North Caucasus, at least, from wider Russia.

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The observation deck of Toronto's Canada Life Building provides a remarkable vantage point on downtown Toronto, even now in the era of skyscrapers and condo towers everywhere.

View west


View south (looking down)


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View east
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Osgoode Hall, the handsome Georgian building t Queen and University downtown that houses most of Ontario's higher courts, was open for Doors Open. I was taken by its libraries, including not only the American Room where American law texts are stored but the gorgeous, columnned Main Reading Room.

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1 Spadina Crescent, an address located on a roundabout in Spadina Avenue just north of College, is a handsome Gothic Revival building now home to the University of Toronto's John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture. On the final day of Doors Open, the newly renovated building's doors were opened to the public to tour, through galleries and up stairs and towards all of the spectacular vistas this building's locations provide.

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The transparency of Old Mill station makes it a compelling subject for photographers at night, especially with subway trains entering and leaving above the Humber.

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Scadding Cabin, a log cabin named after the English immigrant John Scadding who built it in 1794 that happens to be the oldest known surviving house in Toronto, was the final stop on the Ghost Walk held at Exhibition Place. It was a good stop, between the dim of evening outside and the candles inside.

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In The Globe and Mail, Alex Bozikovic looks at what plans for redoing the Bloor street entry of the Royal Ontario Museum mean.

The Crystal is flawed. The Royal Ontario Museum doesn’t want to put it that way, but that is the message of what it calls the “Welcome Project”: Its architectural transformation of a decade ago, which was meant to revive the Toronto institution, doesn’t work as it should.

That message was hidden in a piece of news this week from Canada’s most-visited museum. It plans to reopen the entrance in its 1932 wing, add a new ramp and broader stair, and reconfigure the rotunda inside as a lobby once again.

A small step, but it’s an appetizer for larger plans that include new plazas, an outdoor amphitheatre and renovations to the current lobby.

It’s good news for residents and visitors to Toronto: The region’s most popular and most democratic museum will be a more pleasant place to visit.

And it reflects a new focus for architecture in institutions such as this: not in making showpieces, but on the nuts and bolts of making places that work.
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blogTO's Derek Flack looks at old malls in Yorkville, like Cumberland Terrace and the Village Arcade, that are set to come down as redevelopment beckons. Plenty of nice photos are included.

Yorkville is in the midst of a paradigm shift, the scale of which hasn't been witnessed since it transformed from a hippie hub in the 1960s to a high end shopping destination in the decade that followed.

The Yorkville that's slipping away today can be traced back to the 1970s. While historic elements dating much further back can been seen in the converted Victorian houses that still house retail on Cumberland St., many of the neighbourhood's larger buildings date back to this decade.

Of these, the most significant is surely Cumberland Terrace, a multi-level mall that runs adjacent to the street from which it takes its name. Opened in 1974, when you pay a visit these days, it's like stepping into a time machine.

Picture the Galleria Mall, but nicer. There are payphones and brown tile everywhere, an eclectic mix of vendors you'd never find in a newer mall, and wayfinding signage that dates back to the first days of operation here.
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The tracks of Bonaventure


Montréal's subway stations, like Bonaventure, are at their best gorgeous public spaces full of art and light. Even at their more pedestrian, they show a good sense for design that I wish was more common on Toronto's different routes.
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  • blogTO notes a threat to some of Liberty Village's historic buildings through development.

  • Centauri Dreams looks at planetary formation around close binary SDSS 1557, which includes a white dwarf.

  • False Steps' Paul Drye announces a new book project, They Played the Game, which looks at how different baseball players overlooked in our history might have become stars had things gone differently.

  • Language Hat looks at the linguistic differences between the two Koreas.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the exploitation of Syrian refugees by Turkish garment manufacturers.

  • The LRB Blog examines the phenomenon of myth-making regarding Sweden.
  • The Map Room Blog links to a website sharing the stories of cartographers.

  • The NYRB Daily notes the chaos that Trump will be bringing to American immigration law.

  • Peter Rukavina talks about his experience as a library hacker.

  • Supernova Condensate is optimistic about the potential of Space X to actually inaugurate an era of space tourism.

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  • Antipope's Charlie Stross wonders if the politics of Trump might mean an end to the British nuclear deterrent.

  • Centauri Dreams shares Andrew LePage's evaluation of the TRAPPIST-1 system, where he concludes that there are in fact three plausible candidates for habitable status there.

  • Dangerous Minds shares the gender-bending photographs of Norwegian photographers Marie Høeg and Bolette Berg.

  • The Everyday Sociology Blog takes a look at the 1980s HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States.

  • The Extremo Files looks at the human microbiome.

  • Language Hat links to an article on Dakhani, a south Indian Urdu dialect.

  • The LRB Blog looks at policing in London.

  • The Map Room Blog notes that 90% of the hundred thousand lakes of Manitoba are officially unnamed.

  • Marginal Revolution looks at the remarkable Akshardham Temple of New Delhi.

  • The Planetary Society Blog notes how citizen scientists detected changes in Rosetta's comet.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer provides a visual guide for New Yorkers at the size of the proposed border wall.

  • The Russian Demographics Blog links to a paper taking a look at the history of abortion in 20th century France.

  • Torontoist looks at the 1840s influx of Irish refugees to Toronto.

  • Understanding Society takes a look at the research that went into the discovery of the nucleus of the atom.

  • Window on Eurasia reports on Belarus.

  • Arnold Zwicky shares photos and commentary on the stars and plot of Oscar-winning film Midnight.

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The Globe and Mail's Alex Bozikovic really quite likes the proposed redevelopment of the area of Honest Ed's and Mirvish Village.

Mirvish Village is dead. Long live Mirvish Village. In the area near Honest Ed’s this week, workers had put up fences around a string of Victorian houses on Markham Street, preparing to gut them, while creatives assembled an “Art Maze” inside the old Honest Ed’s store for a festival and sendoff, An Honest Farewell, this weekend.

It’s the end of an age at Bloor and Bathurst Streets: the loveable shambles of Honest Ed’s is gone forever. But as this weekend’s events suggest, the past will continue to have a presence on the site.

The new development at Mirvish Village, after two years of conversation between developers Westbank, locals and the city, is inching closer to approval, with a new proposal submitted in January to the city. Westbank paid $72-million for the site, a big number, and yet the result is as good as private development gets in Toronto. It features meaningful preservation of heritage buildings, a serious sustainability agenda, and affordable housing – not to mention an architectural and leasing strategy geared at making the place as lively as possible, even a bit weird.

That’s all because the developers have been ready to engage in meaningful discussion: The city and the community have made this proposal better through talking and listening.

When the first Westbank proposal emerged in early 2015, “I think [the City of Toronto] were surprised by how much we were offering,” the main architect, Vancouver’s Gregory Henriquez, told me last week. “That’s how we deal in Vancouver: We come with our best offer.”
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Urban Toronto's Stefan Novakovic describes plans to build a tower 98 storeys tall (!) on the southeast corner of Yonge and Gerrard.

Rising to an incredible 98 storeys, Toronto's—and Canada's—tallest building could be coming to the southeast corner of Yonge and Gerrard. Designed by New York's Kohn Pedersen Fox for Cresford Developments, the super-tall tower would feature a mix of retail, office uses, and residential space. The height? 343.9 metres.

With the developers now putting forward a submission to the City of Toronto, further details of the project are expected to be revealed in the coming weeks. Cresford announced a year ago now that a new building—YSL Residences—would be a new landmark development in Downtown Toronto. Now released, renderings depict a sleek, faintly sculptural form with a smooth, glassy exterior, free of balconies. Fronting the corner, the existing three-storey heritage building at Yonge and Gerrard would be maintained, with a small, angular podium volume rising above.

[. . .]

Located kitty-corner from the 78-storey Aura at College Park, which—for now—remains the country's tallest residential building, the development would add a declarative height peak to what could become one of Toronto's tallest communities. Immediately across Yonge Street, the Delta Hotel site is currently subject to another massive redevelopment plan, with Great Eagle Holdings' 'Chelsea Green' proposal calling for three architectsAlliance-designed high-rises, including two 88-storey towers, and a 49-storey building.


The architect's renderings are amazing.
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Urban Toronto's Greg Lipinski reports that, on the northwest corner of Church and Wellesley, a tall tower will rise. How tall? The developers do not know. Right now, they are concentrated on the question of how to design the streetfront podium, the very base of the tower.

When One Properties purchased buildings at the northwest corner of Church and Wellesley, the very heart of Toronto's gay community, Ward 27 Councillor Kristyn Wong Tam was ready to hear about another overly tall, dense, boxy development with very little regard to how it will be a benefit to the established community. When she asked One Properties to host a consultation meeting prior to them making a re-zoning application, she was shocked to learn that the developers did not want to proceed with only one meeting, but host three different "pre-app" meetings. This would allow members of the Church & Wellesley community to voice their thoughts and suggestions on how a project here could reach its full potential.

The ultimate vision of the development is to have a 4-storey, 18-metre-high podium, animated with fine grain retail at grade, and reflective of existing retailers in the Village. The podium would also be set-back from the street, allowing more room for pedestrians on the sidewalk, in addition to allowing for more sunlight. A boutique hotel would be on the third and fourth levels of the podium, while the second level would be dedicated to the community. A rental apartment tower would rise from the western side of the site; height scale and massing still to be determined.

A handful of notable firms are involved in this project. Renowned planner Ken Greenberg of Greenberg Consultants is acting as the facilitator for these meetings, while SvN Architects + Planners have been leading roundtable discussions. Claude Cormier & Associés have been chosen as the landscape design firm, with projects in Toronto including the new Berczy Park restoration, the parkette at the Four Seasons Hotel in Yorkville, and several more. Bousfields is tackling planning work, while Copenhagen's 3XN Architects has been chosen to lead the overall design.

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